In the wake of the US’s largest-ever college admission scandal, a Black Jersey City teen is defying the odds through hard work, coming back from homelessness to receive nearly 17 college acceptance letters.
Dylan Chidick, 17, moved with his family from Trinidad when he was seven years old, is on a quest to become the first person in his family to go to college. Black people and migrants would normally struggle in “unequal America”.
“I wasn’t really sure if I wasn’t going to get into college because I don’t have the perfect grades or perfect GPA or perfect SAT score,” said Dylan. “But I knew that when college admissions read my essay and see me as a whole person, I’d be okay.”
Although Dylan has always wanted to go to college, it was a quick conversation with his mom Khadine Phillip that sealed the start of his ambitious journey.
“He came home one day and said ‘Mom do you want me to go to college?,'” Phillip said. “And I said ‘Yup. You’re going to be the first one in our family to go to college.'”
Along the way, Dylan, his mom and his younger twin brothers have battled homelessness, illness and financial trouble before finding a home where Dylan could plan his dream of attending college.
His twin brothers both have aortic stenosis, a heart condition that restricts blood flow from the left side of the heart to the right side. When the boys’ mother fell ill and was unable to work, the bills became too much to bear and their landlord evicted the family, Phillip said.
“I was able to take them to a motel for the night,” Phillip recalled. “I couldn’t get into the shelter until the next day.”
The family had to live in a shelter, until 2017, when Phillip connected with Village of Families, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded housing program, that the family was able to get help.
Do not allow your precarious situation today blind you to the world of possibilities within your reach. No condition is permanent, Never just give up!